About the Missionary Care Database

This database may be searched online or downloaded for personal use. Following is a description of the database as well as information about its development, advantages, limitations, duplications and making suggestions.

Description of the Database

The database you can download is in Access 2000 format. All that is in the database is one large table from which you can make queries and reports for your own use. If you wish to add to it, you can develop whatever forms you wish to use. It was not designed to be an elegant database, but to be simple to use.

The evolving table is a large matrix with over 900 references, each making up one record in the database. Each record consists of authors, editors, date of publication, titles, publication data, type of publication, number of pages, an outline of the article (usually section headings of the article), a brief summary of the article, and “gems” (particular parts of the article I found intriguing and wanted to remember). Then each article has a “yes” or a “no” as to whether or not the reference was relevant to one or more of more than 100 topics ranging from “accountability” to “women’s roles.” Thus it is a large annotated bibliography in an electronic format.

Development of the Database

The method used to select material for inclusion in the database is as follows: First, I read Kelly O’Donnell’s (1992) Missionary Care. I followed that by reading Kelly and Michelle O’Donnell’s (1988) Helping Missionaries Grow. Then I read the 1983 special missionary issue of the Journal of Psychology and Christianity and the 1983, 1987, and 1993 special missionary issues of the Journal of Psychology and Theology. Following that I looked through all other issues of those two journals plus all issues of Evangelical Missions Quarterly. Then I read the three compendiums of the International Conferences on Missionary Kids, as well as Joyce Bowers’ (1998) Raising Resilient MKs. Finally, I looked through references of the above articles to find other material that was cited in them. Of course, all this time I was reading occasional other articles and books that I ran across.

Advantages of the Database

The first set of advantages is related to giving one the power to sort the data and present the results in neatly organized reports. You can print a report giving the author, the date of publication, and the outline of each reference. You have control over how much or how little of the database to include in the report you print. Thus you can print a list of over 900 references including whatever you want in the report rather than having all that determined by the author of the bibliography. You can do a simple sort before you print your report and get data on one subject. Rather than having one annotated bibliography on a single topic, you can print many annotated bibliographies on a hundred different topics. Of course, you can make more complex queries to print in reports. The possibilities are limited only by what kinds of list you want to request. The annotated bibliographies can be made as specific as you want.

The second set of advantages is related to the ability to modify the database. Rather than having a “set” bibliography with additions of new references published every few years, this format allows continual updating. Each time a new publication appears you can add it to your database so that whenever a new report is generated, it will be as up-to-date as the current literature that you have entered into the database. If you decide that you want to add new topics or new information about references already in the database, you can easily do that so that your evolving database never becomes obsolete. Rather than writing notes in the margin of a book or journal article, you can add any information you desire to your database. Then your new information can be included in any reports you want to generate. Each time you add new information, it is like changing the actual text of a book.

The final advantage to having it in this form is that it is very easy to disseminate the information. You can pass what you add on with the database to other people as an attachment to an E-mail. If they do not have E-mail, you can send it to them on disk.

Limitations of the Database

Categories added as material read. Since my purpose in doing this reading and creating this database was to learn about missionary care, I began being somewhat ignorant of even what categories to use. Thus, as I read, especially during the first 100 references, I kept adding other topics. Each time I added a new topic I did not go back and review all the earlier articles that may have included such a topic. I am not promoting this as a fully developed completed scholarly product. An evolving, continually updated database such as this will never be completed, but is always growing. I am inviting people to look at my own personal note cards as a work in progress and use them wherever they find them helpful.

Only directly related to missions. As it stands, this includes only articles that directly relate given topics to missions. For example, much has been written about re-entry, but I have included only that related to re-entry of missionaries. Before 1990 Clyde Austin had published bibliographies of over 500 publications on re-entry alone, and this database obviously does not include all of these references. Of course, it does include Austin’s articles so that people who want to locate all 500 of those references can do so. People who want these included in their database can begin with what I have, and modify theirs for their own use.

Contains only material in published form. This was not intended to be an exhaustive bibliography of everything available, but only material available in published form so that it can be rather easily located in a library which contains Christian missionary and mental health literature. There are many other papers presented at professional meetings, doctoral dissertations, masters theses, etc. which are referred to in the materials abstracted here, but those references are not included. Again, these are my notes, and not intended to be an exhaustive list of everything available. People who want such a database can begin with this one, and add whatever they want.

Duplications in the Database

As you use the database, you will find that articles or chapters that were published in more than one place have a record for each place published. That was done not to artificially inflate the number of records, but to have as many places to find a given article as possible so that it can be located more easily. If you do not want the duplications, just alphabetize by the first author’s last name, and delete duplicate records.
Suggestions for Additions Invited

I always welcome suggestions of other books, chapters, and articles that may be included in the database. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but it is intended to include all important references to material related to missionary care. I may have missed important books or whole groups of important articles. If so, please e-mail me suggesting other sources I should read.